It has been proven that it's possible to run a marathon after driven all night and had little to no sleep.
The Red Rock Canyon Marathon happened on Saturday, March 6th, 2010.
Friday night, March 5th, 2010 I got off work at 10pm, headed home, did my last minute packing and left my house by midnight. Then I stopped by the ARCO gas station to fill up my rental Mazda 5 and bought a 24oz coffee and on my way to Red Rock Casino, NV, where I will park my car and take the shuttle to Red Rock Canyon.
After 4 hours of driving I finally arrived at the Red Rock Casino at around 4:30am, the first bus that leave for the Red Rock Canyon was at 4:45am, so I got a little time to change and gather all the stuff that I needed to put in my drop bag. I finally got on the bus and we took off a few mins after I got on. The moment I got on the bus I saw Yolanda "Walkin Diva" was sitting by herself, so I decided to sit next to her and we chatted and shared our stories about our RNR New Orleans the weekend before.
We arrived at the Red Rock Canyon around 5:10am or so, it was still pretty dark, our bus driver was a little lost since there weren't much signs to lead him to where he should park. Finally one of the runner on the bus saw a waving sign in the distance and suggested him that he should just stop and let us just walk toward the signal which was held by the race director Joyce. I picked up my bib and shirt at the table and headed to the restroom area to get ready, it was really cold like around between 40's and 50's, kind of reminds me of the morning of the Chicago Marathon.
About 10mins before the race start, race director Joyce gathered us together and walked us to the starting line, which was only a few mins walk, she congrated a few runners who were celebrating their birthday that day, they were each wearing their birthday cone on their head so they were easy to spot.
After the race started, we had to do a little loop back up to the staging area and come back to the starting area for the first mile or so, then we will run straight on one of the most scenic course in NV for about 14 miles before the turnaround.
I got the following descriptions of the course from their website:
The Marathon course starts at the Red Rock Canyon Visitors' Center, at roughly 3740 feet elevation. After making one loop around the Visitors' Center runners then follow the paved scenic drive with traffic climbing to the summit overlook area at 4771 feet in the first 6 miles. The course continues over downhill, flat and rolling terrain. Marathoners will turn onto Oak Creek dirt road for a 0.35 mile out and back section (total 0.7) after which they will rejoin up again with the scenic drive continuing toward their turn around point; elevation approx 3800 feet. Runners will then return along the scenic drive against traffic, climbing back up to the summit overlook at 4771 feet elevation. The last 5 miles is a screaming downhill with a short climb back up to the Visitors' Center for the finish line. Preliminary measure: Total ascent= 1820'; total descent= 1791'; Net= +29'
I forgot to bring my Garmin and my bottle with me so I was carrying a 32oz of Gatorade with me the whole time, I didnt know what I was thinking. But I was just out there enjoying the course and not worry about my time.
The first half of the course seem to go by fast, probably because of the beautiful scenic view that made you forgot that you are actually running. By mile 13, we had to run on this short dirt road for our first turnaround, then we had to run for another mile for our second turnaround point at Mile 14 before we head back to where we started.
Heading for our first turnaround at Mile 13.1
The second half of the course was more challenging than the first half since we had to go back up and face some uphills that used to be downhill before. The weather was still overcasted with a little headwind around Mile 21. Then 4 miles left to go, I felt like I was on a cruise control by following these brother-sister runner from VA, I think. I hung with them and used them as my pacer, then with 1 mile to go, the brother needed to slow down, so I took off and just followed the sister, then after we passed the Mile 26 marker, I told her that we are almost there and tried to help her to keep going since she helped me getting through the past few miles. I could have just sprinted to the finish line but I rather wanted to finish with her. We both crossed the finish line around 4:40.26. Afterward, I thanked her for being my unofficial pacer.
After I waited for Yolanda, Jessica and Steve finished, we all headed back on the bus and back to Red Rock Casino to go our separate way, they all headed back to Cali while I stayed a night(more like a few hours) at Motel 6 by the Strip. I got my rest and left Vegas at 1am early Sunday morning and headed back to CA.
Next Race..................... L.A. Marathon 3-21-2010 (My 10th Straight L.A. Marathon!!!)